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Building and Growing a Small Business

We’re excited to announce that is getting a makeover – and we’re almost ready for the reveal.

In just a few weeks, you will notice a new streamlined design that offers effortless navigation and enhanced functionality. Whether accessing the site from your mobile phone, a tablet, or desktop computer, you will have easy access to tools for accomplishing your most common account-related tasks.

Our mission is to deliver a website that is easy to use, getting you where you need to go with fewer clicks.

Small Business Statistics

April 2nd, 2018 | Posted by April Marasco in Small Business

Small businesses form the foundation of many communities. These numbers reveal their importance.

Building and Growing a Small Business

Our Small Business page has a number of resources for small businesses.

At Howard Bank, we want to help you start, fund and grow your business. Our Small Biz Talks series offers a wide range of business information to help you with your business. If you have a business, here are a few things to consider.

Building and Growing a Small Business

Reflections of 2017

December 27th, 2017 | Posted by April Marasco in Uncategorized

Late December is a time of year that encourages us to reflect – on our achievements, our left “to dos” and the excitement of  looking forward to a new year and new goals and challenges.

masThese reflections of course take place in a larger context. It is the time of year  when some of us retell the story of a child born under a star in trying circumstances who went on to change the world, and others retell the story of a small band of fighters who won against all odds and were rewarded with the gift of lamp light. A time when  many of us focus on our cultural roots and community and when all of us rejoice for the promise of the growing light that the winter solstice and the end of the shortest day of the year bodes.

Light is a recurring theme for each of us – whatever we celebrate or believe. And change is another element in all of these stories. The world is turning for all of us- at this time of year and throughout the year. Both light and change and turnings are gifts – gifts that often come with new opportunities, new roles and new responsibilities.

Howard Bank has certainly received many gifts this year – new capital, new customers, new colleagues, and new community, industry and market recognition. This was a watershed year for the bank – maybe more than any other to date in our history. We  reached new heights and while we encountered many challenges, we are grateful for our many rewards. Those rewards are because of the contributions of others.

To each of our colleagues, we owe a debt of gratitude for your commitment to a vision, your hard work in service to that vision and your many individual and team achievements that moved us forward in our goal for greater impact and greater relevance in the many small and large communities we serve.

To each of our customers, we owe a similar debt of gratitude for your receptivity to our messages, for your loyalty and, of course, for your business.

So, as the new year emerges on the horizon, may each of us thrive in the opportunities that a New Year presents to us.

Happy Holidays and sincere wishes for a healthy, successful and rewarding New Year for which we will all be grateful.


Mary Ann Scully
Chairman & CEO

Starting 2018 Off Right

December 18th, 2017 | Posted by April Marasco in Small Business

As 2017 comes to an end and 2018 is imminent, here are a few ideas for getting a great start to the new year.

Starting 2018 Right Infographic


To recap:

  • Examine the trends.
  • Take stock of competitors.
  • Eliminate things that are not working.
  • Update your website, social media, marketing, and sales strategies.
  • Set goals for 2018.

And remember, we’re here to help you and your business succeed. We have more resources on our Small Business Page.


Our Small Biz Talks series offers advice and knowledge for your small business.
The whole video series can be accessed on our small business web page. This infographic gives a quick look at some specific episodes.

Building Your Small Business Infographic

The end of the year is a good time to take stock of your business – review your accomplishments from this year and plan for next year.

In this infographic, we’ll give you some ideas on getting started and what you might want to include in your checklist. Take a look, and build on this list to close out your business year on a positive note and get prepared for a successful 2018!

Small Business End of Year Chceklist

To give your business the best possible chance of success, you need a business plan. Whether you’ve been in business for a while or you are in the planning stages for your new business, a business plan is key.

A good business plan lets you measure your achievements, attract investors, secure financing, and serves as a roadmap for your business success.

There are many templates available to help you, but generally, you want to answer what, why, who, how, and when. To help you think about creating this very important document, check out the points in this infographic. In addition, we’ve listed a number of online resources you may find helpful.

7 steps to writing a business plan


• SBA’s online course learning – How to Write a Business Plan
• HubSpot provides a step-by-step example
• SCORE mentors offer multiple business plan resources
• SCORE mentors recorded webinar on the elements of a nimble business plan

5 C's of Credit

October is Financial Planning Month, and financial planning is as important for your business as it is for your personal finances.

Are you thinking about starting a business or are you already a business owner? You will probably need money for your business at some time. So, what do you need to do to prepare for a meeting with a lender to talk about a business loan?

A business plan that answers the important questions – what, why, who, how, when – is important to present to a lender. Showing your knowledge and ability to run the business, and being able to demonstrate how the business will make enough money to pay back the loan is key.

Thinking about the 5 C’s of Credit will also help you prepare for a conversation with a lender. These 5 C’s delineate the information a lender is looking for in a business to determine the creditworthiness.

For more information and resources for your business, visit our Small Business page.

Making the BBJ’s 40 under 40 List is an honor. For Tyler Wright, interacting with past and current members of this group feels like an extension of the community-focused and relationship-driven team spirit that is inherent in the Howard Bank DNA.Tyler-Wright

Tyler describes the Howard Bank culture and work ethic this way: “Relationship banking and great service is what makes Howard Bank special. We have talented bankers who all provide great service and expertise.”

Banking at Howard Bank is all about relationships, and Tyler is an expert at building those connections. He started his banking career out of college at Mercantile, one of the biggest and most well-known financial institutions in the area, known for a relationship-focused, community-involved company culture. Tyler is in good company at Howard Bank. Jim Witty, Frank Turner, Rick Botti, and Steve Poynot are also Mercantile alumni.

When he joined the Howard Bank team in 2010 after the recession, Tyler was happy to have a job at a stable, growing, local bank. He could not have predicted the incredible growth that Howard Bank has achieved, and all of it is directly related to that relationship-focus of the organization.

As a Commercial Real Estate Relationship Banker, Tyler is the first point of contact for his clients, whether they have a question about banking services or are seeking help related to a property purchase or refinance. Essentially, he has a quarterback role, and he calls on others on the Howard Bank team to help him provide the great service the Bank is known for.

“Being a banker in a community like Baltimore, you’re right in the middle of everything. You’re connected to many different individuals, many different business leaders, to civic leaders, and it gives you the ability to connect all the dots. With these opportunities to connect people and businesses, it helps me understand and learn more about how the economy drives our community.”

This bond with the community also keeps Tyler energized in his work. “You are faced with the same issues that your customers face and the challenges that are facing the community, so you’re very immersed in that. It keeps me passionate about my job and finding solutions for my clients.”

Committed to the community on a personal level, Tyler volunteers with the Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center and the National Collegiate Cancer Foundation. He currently chairs Howard Bank’s United Way employee donation campaign, and he has been honored for his work with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Ambitious and infinitely enthusiastic about banking, Tyler hopes to become a Chief Lending Officer or Bank President someday. “My grandfather was a banker on the Eastern Shore in Centreville. So, you could say that banking is in my blood.”

For those following the new rules towards the processing of ACH transactions, it’s no surprise to you that Same Day ACH will now apply to debit transactions in addition to credit transactions starting at the beginning of September.  For those who perhaps haven’t been following this as closely (it’s okay, we understand), let’s back up and explain to you what this is all about and how it may impact you.

ACH 101?

The Automatic Clearing House (ACH) is an electronic network that processes financial transactions in the United States.  In short, if you didn’t use your debit/check card to move money but money was electronically deposited or withdrawn from your account, it moved using the ACH rails.  ACH processes all electronic transactions except debit/credit card transactions.  There are two primary ACH providers, the FedACH that processes about 60% of all ACH transactions and the Electronic Payments Network (EPN), a privately owned network that processes the other 40% of ACH transactions.

What is Same Day ACH and What Have I Missed?

The National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) is a governance group who manages the rules dictating the ACH movement of money.  In an effort to expedite the movement of money, NACHA has introduced rules allowing two new settlement times, 1PM and 5PM, allowing banks to process ACH transactions during the day and again overnight during batch processing. (more…)

We are committed to building Baltimore’s Best Business Bank. Howard Bank and 1st Mariner Bank jointly announced the signing of an agreement where Howard Bank will acquire 1st Mariner.

The combination of Howard Bank and 1st Mariner Bank enables us to achieve the vision of becoming the region’s leading business bank in a relentless way. Together, we become the largest community bank headquartered in the Baltimore metropolitan market with the 7th largest deposit market share and the second largest commercial loan share. You can read more here.

Best Business Bank

Frank Turner knows commercial banking. With a long familial banking history, his father, grandfather, and his great grandfather were all bankers, Frank started with Mercantile in 1978 and remained when the bank was purchased by PNC. Frank joined Howard Bank in February 2013, when President and CEO, Mary Ann Scully invited him to join the Howard team.

“Mary Ann is such an inspiring leader and an extraordinary banker. Having spent my career in Baltimore banking and the commercial side of banking, with Mary Ann’s visions and the decision to focus on greater Baltimore, it was a good fit,” says Frank.Frank Turner

Commercial banking involves advice and relationships, and Frank is happy to join a team that is focusing on that. Frank notes that this attention is key. “Howard Bank’s focus on small and medium sized businesses in the greater Baltimore area advocates relationship building and maintaining. The only way to help a business work through a tough situation or take advantage of an opportunity is by having that relationship. At Howard Bank, our management team knows our borrowers.”

And the borrowers know their bankers. The senior management team meets with the management of the company. This consistency at the account level all the way to the management level keeps the Howard Bank team focused on their borrowers. This is the heart of Howard Bank, and this relationship focus is the differentiator for Howard Bank.

Frank observes, “Mary Ann has assembled a wonderful team of experienced bankers from different backgrounds and banking environments, but the whole team is focused on small to medium sized businesses. And providing banking services to those businesses. We’re a small bank with people that have had long and deep experience in commercial banking. And as we grow we continue to attract talented people.”

With Frank’s lengthy history in banking, he has seen changes in the industry over the years. Consolidation has been a major one. The number of banks has shrunk dramatically, for various reasons, but that loss means existing banks need to be much more focused. Howard Bank is uniquely focused in the commercial space. “We’re small enough to do it, but big enough to have the technology, and also the capability and lending limits to provide credit in the space and grow with the client,” says Frank.

Some of Frank’s favorite memories from Mercantile days underscore the culture of trust that existed there, and that now exists at Howard Bank. Notes Frank, “The relationship banking – that was what everyone remembers about Mercantile. That’s how Mercantile made their reputation.”

While much has changed in banking, there is much that remains the same. Although technology has changed the way clients interact with the bank, think mobile deposits and online banking, at the end of the day, decision-making about extending credit and providing service is people and relationship based. You can’t have a robot provide these relationships. Everyone is different. Each situation is unique. And a lot of it is evaluating the management of the small and medium sized companies that Howard Bank serves.

Regarding the future Frank says, “Mary Ann’s assessment of the marketplace and the need, and given what this management team has accomplished so far, the future looks bright.”

As technology advances, you can be sure that identity thieves are not far behind. Here are some common methods cyberthieves use to steal your personal information and how you can increase your security while shopping or banking.


Your email messages may not be quite what they appear to be if you’re targeted by a phishing scam. (more…)

Certificates of deposit, or CDs, are not the most exciting investments, but they are among the safest. They make perfect sense for the risk-averse or for people just looking to park some cash over a specific period of time.

The ABCs of CDs

CDs differ from traditional savings accounts in that you are committing to keep a sum of money put for a set period of time. Known as the “term length,” these periods (more…)

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